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TR: Two reports in one

South Carolina
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TR: Two reports in one

I was lucky enough to have 2 visits to Las Vegas in the last two months. The first visit was the week after Thanksgiving at Encore. The second was over Christmas at Flamingo. My observations will follow.

South Carolina
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1. Re: TR: Two reports in one

The Arrival – Trip one

Since I would be flying in on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (arguably the busiest flying day of the year) I figured I should leave early so I booked an 8AM flight. Then Southwest had a sale and I was able to get a lower rate if I left at 6AM. This meant that I would leave home at o’dark thirty and get to the airport about 4:30. I’m glad I did.

Even that early, lines were beginning to form at security and they were opening up new lines. A FYI, I had checked in about 24 hours preflight and got A33. While waiting in the gate area a group of about 10 young people in BYU sweatshirts showed up. I would guess that they were making a connection in Las Vegas to Salt Lake City. In chatting to person sitting next to me, we immediately declared this the “Saints and Sinners” express. We spent the next few minutes before boarding trying to figure out which group our fellow passengers belonged to.

After we line up for boarding I realize why I get such a low boarding number. There are approximately 50 people on the flight. Almost everyone had their own row. When I got off the plane in Vegas the airport was humming. Already it looked to be a busy day.

No cab line - $23 including nice tip to Encore – I requested a route via Swenson and the driver obliged. Pleasant discussion with driver. Thanksgiving weekend had been bad. Too many locals bringing friends and family to the strip so not much of a call for taxis. My driver was eagerly awaiting the NFR, lots of taxi rides back and forth to downtown. This sentiment was echoed by almost every taxi driver I had during the week.

I also noticed a new twist (or maybe it was always happening and I just noticed or maybe it was because I was a women alone) when arriving at my destination the driver would get our and open my door. A nice touch.

The hotel – Trip 1 – Encore

Since I was arriving at about 8 AM I did not expect my room to be ready. I left my luggage with the bellman and went to the front desk. A note: When I gave my luggage to the bellman I mentioned that my carryon contained a laptop. He thanked me for the information and placed a fragile tag on the bag. I thought that was a nice touch.

To my surprise, my room was ready. Resort King – 26th floor my standing view was of the Riviera and one of the unfinished hotels (either Echelon or Fontainebleau). Seated at the couch I had a very nice view of the mountains.

The bellman arrived with my luggage at almost the same time I did – no more than 1 minute apart. He gave me tour of the room, showed me how to operate the lights, curtains and TV. Like everyone else I dealt with at the hotel he was polite, professional and seemed to actually care that my stay be enjoyable.

The room was exactly like the video. It was clean and felt luxurious. The bath was spacious with plenty of counter space and towels. Since my eyes are no longer what they were in my youth, I greatly appreciated the vanity section with the magnifying mirror. One issue with the room was the vanity chair. While I understand that it needed to be tall to reach the counter, my short legs didn’t reach the floor when I sat on it. It’s a good thing I didn’t let it ruin my vacation. The shower had a low ledge in it. A perfect place to rest your foot while shaving your legs or washing your feet. Not many hotels have this feature and it is greatly appreciated.

My other issue with the living room was there was no outlet next to the couch. I like to sit on the couch with my laptop and answer email and stay in touch with the family. My computer and its battery are on their last legs so I need to plug in whenever possible

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Food – Trip one

A big thank you to whoever recommended Du Par’s downtown for breakfast. They make the best buttermilk pancakes I’ve ever had. I hope when they remodel the Golden Gate Casino I hope they leave the restaurant there. I my opinion these pancakes alone are worth the trip downtown.

I ate at a number of low key places on this trip, Society Café (of course the frosted flake French toast), Stripburger, Grand Lux and Olives and room service. I had no complaints about any of the meals, but none (except the pancakes) stood out. Room service was always delivered hot and plus or minus 5 minutes of the promised time.

Coffee – If there was a disappointing item of the trip it was the coffee. I am not a coffee connoisseur. I even drink the free coffee at work, but the coffee at Wynn/Encore is terrible. Maybe my palette is not sophisticated enough but the coffee had a bitter aftertaste. It required considerable doctoring with cream and sweeteners.

Spa – Trip One

The purpose of this trip was to pamper myself. I had cooked Thanksgiving dinner for 15 and decided I needed a break before the hustle and bustle of Christmas began. I spent almost 2 full days at the spa. I worked out with a personal trainer both days and had a facial one day and a massage another.

If there is one word to describe this spa it is serene. Unlike most spas that have one large locker room, here there are 4 smaller more intimate ones. There are the heated lounges and hot and cold pools, and a variety of showers. Both the steam room and the dry sauna were clean and well maintained. It was not crowded being a Monday and Tuesday maybe 10 people each day. I can imagine that with more people it may quickly feel crowded.

The service was impeccable and cheerful. A wonderful experience and I would go again just enjoy the spa area.

Gambling – Trip one

Thanks to encouragement from Ktinca tried Pai Gow Poker. What a blast!!! Everyone was so nice and helpful. None of the anxiety of making the wrong move and ruining someone else’s hand. They actually had a $10 table at Encore that I started on. Great drink service too. Ghostbusters slot was great fun. Lots of little bonuses from Slimer. No big wins on anything.

The Departure – Trip One

Checkout went smoothly. I was one of the lucky ones who got a random comp from Mr. Wynn. I wasn’t charged the $20 daily resort fee, but was charged $13.99 per day for internet service.

The wind was really blowing when I left the Encore. Again I checked in 24 hours prior and got A23. The flight was not very crowded, but it was a Wednesday night. One thing unusual, while we were loading, the pilot announced that due to the winds there would be no drink service and advised anyone who wanted to use the restroom to do so now, since the seat belt sign would be on the entire trip. It was an E-ticket ride home.

South Carolina
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2. Re: TR: Two reports in one

The Arrival – Trip two

I left after work on Thursday the 22nd. I purchased an early check in and was glad I did. The Southwest check in was organized chaos. They wisely had a lot of people directing you – Disneyland lines snaked along and I got checked in in about 15 minutes. Security was equally well organized and I reached the gate in good time. The gate area was crowded with people sitting on the floor; it was going to be a crowded flight. My A21 check-in number got me a window seat in the 4th row. The flight was completely full. My early check in was worth it for me.

The baggage claim area could have used a lion tamer. Lots of families with tons of luggage and car seats and strollers. Plenty of crying babies and kids running around after being seated too long on an airplane. I was really glad to get out of there.

No taxi line to speak of and I’m off to the Flamingo. Requested via Swenson and driver tried the “there’s an accident up there”. I told him to take Swenson anyway – no accident “they must have finally cleared it”. $18 including minimum tip.

A small line at check in, and about 10 minutes after arrival I was in my room.

The hotel – Flamingo Go room – Trip Two

Overall a very nice room. View of pools and gardens. Since I was alone it was fine, but if there had been two of us it would have been cramped with only one sink. Also I’ve gotten spoiled with having the toilet in a separate room. The real bonus was an in room coffee maker. It was only a one cup maker, but it was enough to get me going in the morning. The bed was very comfortable and the room clean. WiFi fee had a lot of options, different daily fees for the room, property or all CET properties. Room WiFi signal was strong and fast.

Food – Trip Two

I met up with my sister who was staying at Paris. We opted for the Paris breakfast buffet, Olives, Grand Lux, Ping Pan Pong and Le Burger Brassiere. All good value and tasty. Room service at both Flamingo and Paris were delivered hot and within the stated time limit.

Spa – Trip Two

We opted for Qua this time. It is hard to describe the difference between this spa and the Encore spa. Both are wonderful places to spend time. If the key word for Encore is serene, the keyword for Qua is comfort. Qua is larger and brighter.

Gambling – Trip Two

Pai Gow Poker – Flamingo had $10 and $15 tables. Paris had $15. For some reason Caesar’s only had $50 tables. Needless to say we didn’t play at Caesar’s. I got a Royal Flush and got my first black chip! $750!!! Played Ghostbusters again – love that game, and played VP. Other than my royal in Pai Gow, no big wins.

The Departure – Trip Two

Used express check out and went to drop my luggage off. When I informed the bell clerk that my carry on had a laptop he told me it would be $1.50 up front to put it in a secure locker. He took away the luggage and brought me back a locker key that I presented when I picked up my luggage.

I was leaving late on the 26th and figured that the airport would be busy. I was right. Chaos with tons of people leaving and the first of the New Year’s revelers arriving. A23 on the way out, crowded plane.

Got to SFO and SuperShuttle screwed up. It took me over 45 minutes to get my reservation honored. I fired off a mad email to their customer service. I got a response and a promise of a refund within 48 hours.

Two very different trips, both very enjoyable.

Dallas, Texas
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for Boston, Orlando, Walt Disney World, Las Vegas
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3. Re: TR: Two reports in one

Its great when you can visit Vegas twice in a year enjoyed both your TRs thanks for posting.

Romeoville, Illinois
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4. Re: TR: Two reports in one

Thanks for sharing, How great that you got to enjoy 2 trips to Vegas in such a short time. Curious over the Christmas trip, Seems funny that so many people travel to Vegas for Christmas? I had never thought about doing that, even tho I love Vegas and spend many weeks there each year, I don't think I would like the hussle and bussle on a holiday..

Another thing to think about!!!

Sioux Falls, South...
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5. Re: TR: Two reports in one

Thanks for the two trip reports. You know how to do it up right when you travel to Las Vegas!

Roswell, New Mexico
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6. Re: TR: Two reports in one

Relaxing trips and congrats on your Royal. Pai Gow is a great game for fun. What type of coffee maker did flamingo have?

South Carolina
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7. Re: TR: Two reports in one

I don't know what kind of coffee maker it was - It didn't use K-cups though. It had a soft coffee pouch and a basket for each serving. The coffee was OK, better than Wynn's but nothing to sit and contemplate the world over, After one cup I was forced to go to the casino for a coffee and Bailey's.

Roswell, New Mexico
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8. Re: TR: Two reports in one

OK thanks. I have aome K-cups and I am staying Flamingo in May, so I will them at home.

Coral Springs...
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9. Re: TR: Two reports in one

Thanks for the TR...sounds like both if your trips were very enjoyable...

I've never played Pai Gow....perhaps I should try.....

South Carolina
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10. Re: TR: Two reports in one

fl_mermaid - you should give it a try. Thanks to encouragement from Ktinca I did - it really was a lot of fun. I practiced at wizardofodds first and then found a low limit table to start. Just tell the dealer you're new to the game and he/she will help you. The first time I would try to set my hand myself and then confirm with the dealer and everyone else at the table. It took a while until I had the confidence to set my hand without help.